Who We Are

The Appalachian Prison Book Project (APBP)—a grassroots, all-volunteer 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization—challenges mass incarceration by providing books and education to incarcerated people and by creating opportunities for volunteers and community groups to learn more about the legal and prison systems.

Closely affiliated with West Virginia University, a land-grant research institution, APBP also provides internships and service-learning opportunities to undergraduates, graduate students, and law students and encourages interdisciplinary research. APBP sponsors lectures, conferences, performances, and other educational events related to mass incarceration.



APBP grew out of a 2004 graduate course on the history and literature of imprisonment taught by English Professor Katy Ryan at West Virginia University (WVU). For the next two years, a group of students, faculty, and community members collected books, raised money, and studied the history of prison book projects. In 2006, APBP moved into the Aull Center and mailed its first book.

Mission and Vision

Our work emanates from two interconnected premises: education is a basic human right, and engaging the community in educational justice efforts is a requisite component to building sustainable restorative justice models.



Our board of directors govern the inner-workings of APBP and ensure volunteers have the support they need to pursue our mission.


Student Organization

The West Virginia University Student Organization of APBP helps with much of our core work: opening letters, matching books to letter requests, wrapping books, and hauling carts full of packages to the local post office.

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